Friday, December 29, 2006

Officially on information overload

I think one could safely say that I'm overloaded on RSS feeds. I have 56 subscriptions as of this morning's glut of adds, I have tons of things marked as "to go back and read more carefully" and when I do sit down and wade through things, I'm intrigued only for the 15 seconds it takes me to get through things.

Then of course, there is the time spentlinking back to the full story that Discovery has posted that I just "have to read."

I wonder when I'm supposed to find more of this information useful other than giving me wierd trivia. I'm trying to pay attention to the news, the latest children's books (if I ever get a start date!!) , some professional information, the latest from Rachel Gordon and Tara and David Rothman , and keep up with a few favorite cartoonists and whatnot and it's incredibly overwhelming.

It's too much information and yet never enough. I still feel more informed on Miss Nebraska losing her crown than I do on Gerald Ford passing away and the legacy the former president will leave.

Add on top of it a severe quantity of frustration with twits that I design for who can't read a display to save themselves...and it's been a good morning!! When I tell you the field doesn't exist--believe me. I built the database.

Have to try and get a couple of things done while the boy is off at the gym. (Did I mention that having company takes up an obscene amount of time too??)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Age Assumption....

For my profession, if one reads all of the "graying statistics" that abound, I am young. Compared to the majority of my classmates in library school--I was extremely young. I recognize this, I've tried to capitalize on this in interviews (connected to the younger generation and all that.) However, I find myself more and more insulted when professionals that I meet blatantly refer to my age. It always begins with "'re fresh out of library school?"

I'm not.

I spent the first eight months out of library school looking for a professional position, went into publishing for a year, and have been doing database design for four months. I've been out of library school for two years and I find myself extremely annoyed at this automatic assumption.

It's not a question anyone would ask of the majority of my classmates. Most of them were beyond 35 and many were in their late forties. I don't hold this against them, I understand (and witnessed) many burnt out professionals seeking to do the part of their job that they actually enjoyed (information work). They could walk into the exact same situation, though, and not be given this question--merely because they have a few more years of maturity in their faces.

Age is a funny thing to guage any way around it. At the theater and at my publishing job I have had people assume I was much older than I am. (It's hard to be told you look nearly 10 years older than you are...). When discovering my age, everyone then stumbles about, apologizing with astonishment and mentioning something about my poise and maturity. It's amusing and painful to realize that a little common sense means I'm old. On the flip side, I'm four years younger than my boyfriend and we have siblings inbetween us (my older sister/his younger brother). Drives him bonkers. Doesn't bother me much.

It starts me out on the wrong foot though to have someone assume I'm incompetent because I'm young--and that's always implied with the fresh out of school assumption. How do you know what my background is? I might have worked in libraries all through high school and college and know what's going on in them nearly as well as any new professional. I might have been in another professional position but be relocating due to any number of family, personal or other reasons that aren't readily apparent.

Please don't make an assumption because I don't have a lot of gray hairs (there are a few floating around up there...). Please be professional and give me the opportunity to volunteer my background, rather than have to defend my background based on the wrinkles or lack thereof in my face.

Monday, December 18, 2006

If I'd known you were coming....

Today...I am a voiceless hedgehog. No, no censors involved---just a bout of laryngitis exacerbated by being around lots of cigarette smoke in two days. I'd forgotten how badly my throat feels when I'm in a smoky setting for a couple of hours. Though a number of my friends smoke, we don't allow it in the apartment and in a work setting--they're usually headed outside for a quick cigarette.

I went past my new assigned branch today. That was interesting. Generally, I was suprised and pleased. Apparently, so were they. It's a bigger, brighter building than I expected and was pleasant to walk into. That being said---I was a complete shock to them. I introduced myself to the person at the reference desk, assuming that at least when I said "I'm your new Children's Librarian" they would be able to pigeon hole me. No---they hadn't even been told that I was assigned to the branch/that they were getting a new Children's librarian. Still it was a nice opportunity to go in, meet people, see the space, figure out how long it will take if I drive (35 minutes) and see where the bus stop is if I decide to take public transportation.

There were a few realities I hadn't thought about. The level of programming is low compared to what I have in my mind as "normal" (reference--I come from small Midwestern town where they do 20-40 storytimes a week) but for one person, I'm sure it's more than enough. There were school-aged children there in the middle of the day and one staff member spoke to me about trying to address 15 year olds still in junior high. It's a very different setting for me.

Designing might be slowing down. Sorta/kinda. We're at year end for one place (read---can you build me 24 reports by Monday?) and the other one is starting "Spring Semester" recruitment, which means I'll be spending more incredibly tedious hours punching in information. Oh well, at least I can listen to e-books while that occurs.

Attempting to not talk is difficult when people are visiting, going to a new branch and I need to be in shape to sing Christmas carols next weekend. maybe this year I won't drown other people out. It's not an attempt to be showy--I just love singing and I dislike the whole concept of "O teeny voice night..." It's a problem other singing friends of mine have also noted that they encounter---we're expected to not fully enjoy the music vocally because (I've been told this) "you'll make others feel like they can't live up to you..." I don't want them to--I just want to sing Christmas songs, sing the descant, and enjoy the music fully.

you can please some people some of the time.....particularly during the holiday season.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

E-Books From My Library

I might finally get through Moby Dick. Though any number of times I have picked up the tome, willing myself to become immersed in the sea story, I seem to have a mental block about actually reading it. I'll get into it a couple of chapters--and then happily revert to something more of my usual fare (ranging anywhere between histories of Europe to light hearted mysteries to comic collections and romance novels).

Tired of listening to the collection my significant other so kindly uploaded to my mp3 player--I started scouting about for something other to hear on the subways. (I know, I'm not supposed to call them that anymore but old habits die hard.)

I haven't had time nor inclination in the winter weather that has descended upon me to haul over to the local public. Nor do I really feel like illegally ripping CDs, putting them on my mp3 player, listening, returning the CDs and dumping the books immediately because heaven only knows I don't have the storage space. I do however, have access to the online catalog of e-books. Hmmmmm, I thought, why not check out something online that I don' t have to return or illegally change to a different format?

And so I am a new and vociferous proponent. I'm just starting another of Jane Austen's pieces (old favorites..I can half hear them and work at the same time, or be in transit) and happily having a change from all of the music that's been bombarding me recently.

I hope more libraries adopt this. I'm sure it is dependent on ILS service and loan periods but what a great use to this generation of ours that is so addicted to mp3 players? Everywhere that I go these days it seems that there are always headphones in someone's ears. When I do this myself I end up thinking everyone is functioning on the same soundtrack that I am. While this is just a personal inclination, I doubt the rest of the world really wants to know that we're all in the middle of Mozart Requim Lacrimosa or else with some heavily remixed house music going. (A visual of me...walking down the street and attempting not to dance...) it seems to me that more libraries should adopt this idea of providing AudioBooks online to their patrons if they have not already. I checked a few other libraries whose catalogs I have perused before and didn't see them. What better way for people to get through classics or other books of choice. No weight but what they already carry, no responsibility but to delete the files when completed.

Now then..I just need new earphones, for the ones I have don't block out the transient noise and it makes it a bit of a challenge on to hear when the train is coming without ruining my eardrums.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The inevitable time-waster: All Hands Meetings...

I had to attend a meeting that was a complete waste of my time and energy last night. Two and a half hours to go over information that could have been covered in 30 minutes or less. There were (in my opinion) utterly pointless "team building" exercises which did little except to make me frustrated with a coworker that I generally like. Forcing people who can't write to try and write haiku in groups, never a good option. There was middling-to-poor pizza that apparently didn't take into account that we have two vegans on staff. There was salad but it didn't even look appetizing and don't get me started on the cupcakes.

Mostly I sat staring blankly wondering why they were wasting my time this way. Considering I had also to add a two hour commute to this evening meeting on my day off and it was a day that I should have been at home designing--the meeting (for which I earned less than $20 dollars attending) cost me anywhere between $100-$200 of my time (depending on which of my clients I'm working for).

So for bad pizza and people avoiding the questions that really need to be asked...I lost at least $75 dollars. Hmmmm

So here are my questions:
Why is remuneration for our division of staff so poor? It leads to greater turnover.
Why do they retain shoddy staff members and cater to them?
Why wasn't the appropriate person promoted after her boss left?
Were you planning on replacing that boss or were we just supposed to "get by" indefinitely?
When you under staff, why do you talk about the desperation of the staff to get things done as quickly as possible so there is five minutes to breathe before the next onslaught?
Why isn't the dedication of staff members who have been there for years recognized and honored?
Why are people allowed to smoke in the "staff" jackets?

But alas, I am not in a position where I feel like I can ask these questions. Perhaps, when I start my library job, I will feel "empowered enough" to hand these questions to my immediate supervisor with my suggestions and thoughts. She, unfortunately, probably can't do much because they're making her life as miserable as they are everyone else's.

Staff treatment is obviously a priority...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I Love My LibraryThing

I want three days to spend at home with my shelves and my LibraryThing. Tim Spaulding is a GENIUS.

I'm a late adopter--kind of like with blogging, but now that I've moved over I'm hooked. My sister has over the years vainly pleaded with me to put my books into some sort of catalog--for how else is she supposed to know which of the "Cat Who" mysteries already grace my shelves and how many Cathy Guisewite books I really own. Everything she would send me to try though was so clunky that I couldn't begin to wade through it.

Enter Tim and his fabulous, online, shareable, manageable product. Take a simple concept, give it to the geeks to break, and then bring it to the world at a reasonable price. It's only $25 for a lifetime subscription, as many books as I want. Who doesn't find that fantabulous!!

Once my library is a little more populated, I might be inclined to share--as long as it doesn't mean getting too much ribbing for my romance novel collection...

Filling out the new hire paperwork

As I got to the train this morning I thought--shouldn't I need more identification with me? Nah, they didn't tell me to bring anything. Silly me...should have gone back home. But in the artic temperatures we're having today, who wants to do something insane like go home? So I went down and of course, now I'll have to go back on Tuesday with my SS card.

But I filled out the paperwork and city hall has finger printed me!!! I am becoming a city employee and I couldn't be more thrilled!! It's exciting. The finger printing process took a little longer than I expected. I was among their first customer for the day (I got to City Hall around 9:15) but they had to take my prints twice...apparently not enough oil on my hands the first time to get a good print. At least it was a scanner and not ink and so my fingers aren't purple for the theater tonight!

The cat keeps trying to steal everthing around my laptop. Most recently--my keyfob that allows me to log in to my old job's database. That could have been a bit of a problem--meeting this afternoon. It has been located though.

Blogspot has now connected to my Gmail account so perhaps I'll be a little better about blogging. We shall see. This morning I started a new mystery series, courtesy of Miss Margaret. "Thursday Next" novels by Jasper Fforde. I know, I'm sure I'm way way behind (the first one appears to have come out in paperback in 2003) but I'm not a huge mystery reader and it takes Donna Andrews, Lilian Jackson Braun and now apparently, Fforde to get me into that side of literature. Oh...Emily Brightwell too.

I'm not reading much other than that...but I should write a comment on Librarything...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Designing until you bash your brains out

I will never fully understand MS just doesn't physically seem possible. I cannot comprehend a query that returns 131 records and then counts them to equal 141.... I fail to understand. And I've just spent the past 2 hours trying to remedy this little problem for a report that I'm doing for one of my database people.

It's been a long day--my roommate had a friend over with special needs (imagine two petite girls, strong but petite--lifting a young man in a wheelchair up and down icy concrete steps). We decorated for the holidays while he was here. This mostly involved her on a chair trying to thumbtack homemade garland (yarn) to the walls and me standing in our front window trying to thumbtack up lights. There was a good part to the latter--apparently I'd dropped my wallet outside and a nice man was walking up and down the street looking for the right number and saw me in the window. He returned it with everything intact!! Definitely put a little Christmas cheer into my heart!!

So now it's back in front of the computer trying to wrap everything up before I work on knitting, holiday stuff and cleaning the bedroom that I've lost under all of the garbage.

Oh yes--I also got a new job!! Don't have a start date yet, assuming Jan 1 ish...but HOORAY!!! I'll be a children's librarian.